Designing the Ideal Kitchen

Ideal KitchensNo room in your home deserves more attention than the kitchen. The kitchen is where we go to escape the hectic pace of today’s world.

Forget about his woodworking shop, the home office and the baby’s toy room. Yes, all of these individual spaces are important but not as pivotal to family happiness as the kitchen.

Homebuyers looking for comfort and reassurance usually head for the kitchen. That’s where home owners show off our good taste in such things as cooking, design and fine wines. As more men have taken up cooking as a hobby, the popularity of wine refrigerators, espresso machines and warming drawers has increased.

And that goes hand-in-hand with the love affair we’re now having with the commercial look in appliances. Stainless is still king, and until the U.S. appliance industry introduces a new metallic finish, stainless will probably reign.

Many things Americans liked in previous years about The Ideal Kitchen are still popular. These include shiny surfaces and soft looks. This is especially true for countertops and flooring. A typical upscale kitchen remodeling includes granite counters, stainless appliances, and hardwood or porcelain tile floor and cherry or maple cabinets.

If a countertop isn’t honed granite, it’s probably soapstone, another soft material that so far has met with high approval from the person who does the cooking and cleaning.

Each year Homes and Gardens asks homeowners if they are happy with their material selection after a full year of use, and it’s always the countertop that’s criticized. Concrete is unpopular because it stains and cracks. Solid surface and laminates are too shiny for today’s design tastes, and the butcher block isn’t sanitary. Today’s homeowner doesn’t appreciate the patina that stainless steel counters develop after a few carvings.

Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets continue to be elegant but simple. However, moldings are being added at the top and bottom. Many of these woods have a noticeable grain. Lyptus, a South American wood is one example. Its highly grained and takes light or dark stain.

Glass is still popular in kitchen cabinets, but the glass isn’t clear. It’s etched or beaded so the homeowner doesn’t have to arrange everything inside like a department store window.

Kitchen Flooring

When it comes to kitchen flooring, real hardwood is preferred. Bamboo, which entered the market last year, is doing well as flooring and cabinetry. But the most “fun” kitchen flooring has been around for a long time. It’s linoleum. Some designers love linoleum because it can be cut into many patterns using many colors. It’s environmentally friendly, and it’s durable.

As kitchens become more popular, they become larger

Kids may not remember last summer’s vacation, but they’ll remember long talks or games at the dinner table with parents. Parents want to create the ambiance to help make memories happy ones.

Where does the additional square footage now going to the kitchen come from? To accommodate larger kitchens without expanding the home’s total square footage, families are opting for smaller or no formal living areas, family rooms, dining rooms and laundry rooms. Other trendy rooms, such as mud rooms or learning centers, may have space usurped by kitchens.